A good night’s sleep is essential for so many reasons. Without it, we notice some symptoms on the surface – a foggy mind, lack of energy and fatigue. But missing out on deep, restorative sleep can also impact digestion, hormones, stress response, and more. Read on for five ways to ensure you get the sleep you need.
Sleep Timing (Paleo Sleep)
Sleep 9-5. OK, 10-6 if you must. I know a lot of people may think this preposterous to even attempt but it could help you tremendously. The reason is that the hours around midnight are the time that the liver tends to regenerate itself. If we are asleep at this time, then our sleep will naturally be doubly restorative; whereas if we go to sleep at midnight or later, then we lose that deeply restorative sleep.
Look at it from a paleo point of view! This is closer to the time that we slept for millions of years, and there is a deep expectation for us to continue this pattern.
Please be careful about taking sedatives or sedative herbs to help you sleep because though this can work sometimes, long-term use will just knock out your ability to deeply rest. It is better to take anti-stress restorative herbs that also help you sleep. That way when you awake you are doubly restored. The Ashwagandha in both of ORGANIC INDIA’s Peaceful Sleep formula and the new Tulsi Sleep Tea is an herb that both supports sleep and also supports deep restoration.
It may feel that once you close your eyes it does not matter if you are in a perfect zen-like cozy space or if you are in a seriously cluttered space. According to Yoga and Ayurveda, and Feng Shui for that matter, sleeping in a clutter-free space that is used only for sleep and sex will help ensure a deep restorative sleep. Make a sleep temple for yourself! You are so worth it! It is a third of your life after all!
Another trick that we learn from Yoga, Ayurveda and Feng Shui is that if we sleep with our head to the magnetic South we will increase the depth and restorative facets of our sleep. The reason for this is that we then align to the natural magnetic flows of this good earth, resulting in more time in deeper restorative sleep. Incidentally, sleeping head to the North is better if you want a more shallow sleep, in the event that you want to practice the yogas of sleep, like Nidra yoga and lucid dreaming, etc. Thousands of tests accomplished by the Monroe Institute confirm this ancient wisdom.
Again in Yoga and Ayurveda if your transition into the day takes hours before you are really awake then that delay will also diminish the restorative ability of that night’s sleep and also the following night’s sleep. What is advised is to wake up and accomplish a short meditation practice and then “destroy sleep,” as it is termed in the classic texts, by immersion in cold water. Of course, a fresh mountain river is what they often refer to, but in lieu of that, a cold shower will do.
This is especially good for hot intense people, and if you are a more sensitive person then take a normal shower as soon as you can, but then make sure it has a “cold-ending” to it. “Destroying sleep” with cold water is also far better and restorative than “pushing it back” with coffee or stimulants (if you need a drink to help wake you up try Tulsi Gotu Kola Tea).
I am such a believer in obliterating slumber this way and always try to jump into cold water soon after waking. If I am not near a river or ocean or lake then I simply take a shower without using any hot water. It may be hard to get used to, but then it becomes nectar! Mind and spirit and life force and intelligence snap to attention when you do this. And I simply like being awake when I am awake!
It reminds me of the Zen Master saying,
“When I eat, I eat, when I sleep, I sleep.”
Of course this insight has many meanings, but to limit sleep to sleeping, and not let it “leak” into the rest of the day tends to establish sleep as sleep and that is simply more restorative.
People, we, as a culture, as a collective mind, could really use more restorative sleep. Bonne nuit, my friends! Sweet Dreamlessness!